In recent news, Illinois State lawmakers have begun to finalize plans to allow medical marijuana to be bought and sold for patients that apply for an ID card this fall. This means that patients may be able to legally purchase as early as next spring. While it seems like things are moving along for the new industry, there are a few major kinks left to straighten out. Below is a list of those hurdles:
Who will get a license?
Before patients have the access they need to medical marijuana, State regulators have to figure out which business will get a license. Before the chosen licensed business can buy or sell pot, they will need to follow laboratory procedures to test that each plant is safe for patient use.
The regulators hope to sketch up a list of criteria that will make the process simple and efficient within the next month. This list will test each business that applies for a license, and will help determine which of them will be allowed to sell medical marijuana. The state will like to approve 21 cultivation centers and up to 60 retail stores for selling and growing. This criterion is based on security, patient education, and expertise on growing the plant. Likewise the Illinois Department of Agriculture has started to convey one of their labs into a testing center. This center will be used to test incoming plants for mold, pesticides, or for anything that may be deemed harmful for a patient to ingest.
Where will the Marijuana seedlings come from?
Owner of the Grand Prairie Farms in Frankfort, Bryan Willmer, answers this questions joking: â€œI guess [the seeds] should fall from the sky.â€ Willmer is one of many farmers hoping to obtain a license, but are unsure of how they will cultivate seeds legally to start growing. Farmers are eager to see if the state has a plan, and the officials said that they are working on this issue.
Who will receive an ID card?
Illinois will have some of the strictest rules on medical marijuana of the 23 states that have approved the buying/selling/and growing of the plant. Because of this, many patients will not be approved for an ID card. In fact, state regulators are requiring patients to have a doctor certify that they have one of three dozen specific conditions like HIV, cancer, and other serious conditions. Patients who are suffering from severe pain most likely will not be approved. Illinois will also require industry owners, and potential ID cardholders to go through a criminal background check â€“ Illinois is the only state that will require fingerprints.
State officials have placed high entry fees on patients in hopes to stabilize the industry. Business operators need enough capital to maintain. A lot of marijuana advocates feel the initial fee, $100 plus 8 percent sales tax, for clients is extremely steep, as well as the fees required of licensed businesses — $200,00 of the initial license, 500,000 in liquid assets, and dispensaries â€“ 30,000 for a license, 400,000 in liquid assets
Projected to help 10,000 qualified Illinois Patients — Only the beginning
Marijuana has been approved for medical use in several states, such as Colorado, for many years. State regulators have taken great steps towards helping many Illinois patients who will be approved for medical marijuana use. Marijuana has been studied to help relieve pain, tremors and nausea with less side effects than a number of medications. Members of the Marijuana Policy Project estimate Illinois will have about 10,000 qualified patients.
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